Our family has been involved for the past 20 years with the 4-H The Seeing Eye Puppy Project raising puppies to become guide dogs for people who are visually impaired. We are currently waiting to raise puppy number 28 for this organization. Please visit the website of The Seeing Eye to learn more about this program.
Dana was an absolutely adorable golden puppy, the first one we were lucky to be able to raise in more than 10 years of puppy raising. She was the kind of dog you wanted for your own, but we knew she was destined for something greater. She was loyal and loving and such a joy to have for a short time. She went on to graduate with flying colors and made us proud. She became a guide for a woman who lives in the South.
Shannon is a female golden retriever we received on May 21, 2008, at the age of 7 weeks.
Shannon met her siblings at a puppy training meeting. Left to right, Shannon, Simba and Sunny, 11 weeks. Update on the triplets: our Shannon is working in Maryland; Simba is working in New York City; and Sunny is guiding in Canada.
Shannon returned to The Seeing Eye for her formal training in July of 2009. We've received a letter that she has been matched with a trainer and has begun her formal training to be a dog guide. After completing her trainng Shannon is now guiding a mother of twins in Maryland. She is shown below in harness prior to being matched with her graduate. She is the golden facing left on the sidewalk in front of traffic.
Franny, our other golden, also graduated and is proud to be working with a lady in Connecticut during the warmer months and who spends the colder months in Florida. She is the golden in front of the manicured hedge. Lucky dog!
Fedora, a female golden retriever, who arrived after Franny, was a sweet golden and a loving lap dog even at 50 pounds as she matured. If you sat on the floor, she was in your lap immediately. She learned quickly and went with us everywhere to learn her social skills. Unfortunately, she did not make the program due to distraction issues and happily returned home to be our forever dog.
Our latest puppy, Ebony, raised by my daughter, is a black lab and has returned to The Seeing Eye and is in formal training now in Morristown. We are hoping she will soon be placed with a student and begin her career as a guide dog. Update on Ebony: she was not 100% perfect for a career as a guide dog and has found a loving home.
Our current puppy is Llana, a 9 week old golden retriever placed with our family on June 8, 2012. She is pictured below lying on the wood floor content to look at me as I took her photo. She is enjoying every minute of her puppy days! Llana's update: she did very well in training but shortly before we were to see her for the last time, it was determined she did not meet the requirements to become a guide and became our forever dog.
Joey, who arrived after Llana's return, was big boisterous labrador retriever with a heart of gold and a mischevious personality. Primarily raised by my daughter, she harnessed that enthusiasm and helped him focus it into a constant variety of social experiences to keep him stimulated and focused on the positive. That big, goofy boy learned well and went on to guide a lady in Minnesota. We couldn't be prouder that he has graduated and is a working dog! We know he must be loving every minute.
Sandy, a female golden retriever, arrived in November of 2013 and now almost a year later, is doing well with her social skills and obedience. She is a well traveled pup, accompanying me when I visit local stores and restaurants, travel by train, visits to local towns and even New York City riding elevators in tall buildings, walking through crowds with ease, travel on the subways, and riding with confidence on the Governor's Island and Staten Island ferries. She's walked in parades, been to Newark Airport and had the opportunity to board a plane, walked through malls, greeted the public at Seeing Eye demos locally and at Liberty Science Center. Although her time with me will soon end, her happy go lucky personality and ever smiling eyes will certainly bring such happiness and independence to someone out there waiting for her! It was determined that Sandy was an excellent candidate for the breeding program at The Seeing Eye. I'm happy to say that Sandy is now expecting puppies at the breeding center that are due at the end of August, 2015. We wil be raising one of her puppies this fall!
Dior, a white standard poodle, being raised by my daughter simultaneously while I raise Sandy, is a new experience for my daughter. One of only two poodles in the entire Seeing Eye program, he is a smart , sweet boy and definitely gets looks and comments, "I didn't know there were poodles in the program!" What an obedient and intelligent dog and hypoallergenic for those individuals who might have allergies. He is a well traveled poodle, having been to all of the places Sandy has gone as we usually travel together for socialization of our puppies. Dior returns to The Seeing Eye at the end of September, 2014, and we hope he does well.
My daughter is now raising, Mocha, a black standard poodle, who is now 9 1/2 months old. She is very alert and a quick learner and very devoted to her. She loves to play and yet is very focused while working on her training. She has been to many places during her time with her, and did well on a weekend trip to Washington, D.C.
My current puppy is a little yellow lab/golden cross, Colette, who is 9 months old. She's a happy puppy and very focused when she is learning her commands. She goes everywhere with me while learning and developing her social skills. She also went to Washington, D.C. and enjoyed the public's attention wherewever we went during this important training opportunity. Colette has been matched as of the summer of 2016 with a law student from North Carolina!
Shannon and Franny
Shannon ( on left) is now 7 months old and doing well with her obedience training. She has been joined by Franny (on right), an 8 month old golden retriever, who is also in training to be a guide. They make quite a pair!
This is a photo of Leda, our lucky 13th puppy, who we raised prior to receiving Shannon. We recently went on her town walk and saw her for the last time before she is matched with a student. We understand she was above average and is the type of dog who can be matched with anyone in any setting. We're very proud she has made it this far and look forward to hearing about her new owner and in what state she will be living.